About this snake: Copperhead
Copperheads will attempt to warn off larger animals when
they feel threatened by shaking their bare tail in noisy, dry
leaves to mimic the rattle of their relative the rattlesnake.
Many people are fooled by this but they don't need to be quite
as frightened of the copperhead since its venom is not as toxic
as the rattlesnake's.
Copperheads have a heat sensitive pit located between the
eye and the nostril on each side of the head that they use to
detect warm-blooded prey. They don't actively hunt, but patiently
lie in wait for small rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. The
young copperheads don't need to be quite as patient as their
parents but can use their brightly colored yellow tails to lure
food within their reach.
Copperheads live in leaf-covered clearings in deciduous forests,
where their color markings camouflage them well. They have hollow,
curved, retractable fangs that are normally folded back along
the jaw but as the snake opens its mouth to strike the fangs
spring forward into position. In the fall of the year this snake
gathers to hibernate, often in association with the timber rattlesnake.
Copperheads tend to live in large numbers in communal "dens."
These "dens" are easily wiped out by suburban development
and sport hunting.
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